Thursday, May 22, 2008

Growing Up Is a Hard Lesson To Learn

If you saw the new movie list, you know that the second installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, came out this last weekend. Seeing as our boys loved The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, we made an opening weekend screening part of our plans. I didn't mess with reading any pre-reviews. I also didn't bother to read the book. The first was probably not a big issue. The second one was a mistake. I should have refreshed my memory of the original story.

The foreboding doom of that last statement should not in any way reflect on the movie itself. It was a great movie. The quality of the acting was a little better. The scenery was, of course, beautiful. The story moved along at a good enough pace. And the action. Oh the bloodless violent action. For all the hacking and slashing that happened in the movie, it was truly amazing that bloodshed was kept at a minimum. Unrealistically so. But its a kids movie. Thankfully the blood was at a minimum.

You have to realize that my boys were raised on action movies. Nick's second movie (the first was Jonah: a Veggietales Movie) was Spider-Man. He loves the Indiana Jones movie (this weekend, by the way). Andrew is working himself up into a tizzy about the new Batman movie (I'm a little concerned about that one for him, though). But the point is, Caspian was nothing they were not used to. But if your kids (or you) don't care for violence, then this movie could put you off.

For those of you who were expecting more of Lewis' Christian analogy, you will be looking long and hard for it. There isn't as much overt typology of the Christian variety. Instead, you will be learning hard lessons about life and faith. More about life than faith, though.

This movie is about growing up and putting behind you the things of your youth. Peter is the clearest example. Remember from the first movie that the 4 Pevensie children grow into the adult kings and queens of Narnia, only to step back through the old wardrobe into their pre-teen bodies. Their memories and experiences fill their mind. But they do not have the bodies to match. Nor do they have a world that accepted them as did the Narnians. So we see that Peter struggles with London and with the return to Narnia as a youth. By the end of the movie, he has to grow up. Not in the physical sense, but in maturity of mind and personality.

As for the greatest character in the story, Aslan, he plays a much smaller role. If I remember correctly, Liam Neeson did not even get opening credit mention. But when Aslan shows up, it is a powerfully moving moment.

There is a lot of humor in this movie. Most of it is not Lewis original. It is more culturally adapted humor. But it does not tarnish the story.

All in all, it was great movie. It didn't drag out (for an adult, anyway) even though it clocks in at over 2 hours. It isn't the door way to Christian conversation that the first movie was. And that may put off Christian support as it takes more work to get to issues of faith. But it is still a movie worthy of support.